NRL Rd 10  - Tigers v Broncos
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Luciano Leilua of the Wests Tigers thanks fans after winning the round 10 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Brisbane Broncos at Leichhardt Oval on July 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Wests Tigers' second-rower Luciano Leilua is reportedly set for an imminent release from the club.

Leilua is currently on contract with the club until the end of 2022, however, the Concord-based outfit are apparently prepared to grant the 25-year-old an immediate release so he can take up a mega deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.

The second-rower went from strength to strength during the 2021 season in Michael Maguire's side, becoming one of the game's premier second-rowers.

The news comes with Leilua promising to test the open market some weeks ago as one of over 150 players off-contract at the end of 2022 and allowed to negotiate from November 1.

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According to The Daily Telegraph, the former Dragon will join the Cowboys on a three-year deal worth around $700,000 per season.

LUCIANO LEILUA
Lock
Wests Tigers
2021 SEASON AVG
1.5
Offloads
0.2
Tries
0.1
Try Assists

It's understood the Cowboys have thrown all resources at Luciano Leilua after missing out on Viliame Kikau, who was photographed in a Bulldogs' polo shirt late last week.

It has previously been reported the Tigers negotiations have left plenty to be desired with Leilua's camp, who is in for a monster pay rise following a breakout patch of form since signing his last deal.

Tim Sheens, who has recently taken up a role as head of football at the Tigers, reportedly told the publication on Wednesday evening that it was a "damn good offer."

“We knew the Cowboys were negotiating,” Sheens said.

“It sounded like a damn good offer. They had money stashed away for Kikau.”

The Tigers are set to release Leilua on Thursday morning if reports are to be believed, with the move to leave a gaping hole at the Tigers for 2022.

The club have signed Isaiah Papali'i from 2023 onwards, but the Eels won't release him early given what they will pay him in 2022.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Isaiah Papali'i of the Eels celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round six NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium on April 17, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

With very few top line players left for 2022, it means the Tigers may have to rely on the likes of Luke Garner to lead their second-row charge.

One option for the Tigers could be to use the money they will save on Leilua to target Tariq Sims, who doesn't have a future at the Dragons beyond 2022, and has previously been shopped for the upcoming season.

It was thought no clubs had the funds available to secure Sims so soon, however, savings from Leilua, plus the Tigers not being at the end of the salary cap, could potentially reopen those discussions.